Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Newport Beach

Dinner for one

I’ve never felt uncomfortable eating alone. In fact, as long as it only happens  every once in a while, I look at it as kind of a treat. Or, at least, an opportunity to treat myself. So when my wife left town for a few days to visit friends, I took full advantage.

Friday night I celebrated my temporary bachelorhood with my semi-annual hamburger at Bake ‘n’ Broil. After 20 years of eating there, one of the owners, Andy Child, has become a friend and he very thoughtfully tucked in a portion of their brownie pie for me to take home.

But the real treat was Sunday night. What with one thing or another, it’s been a while since I have been kayaking, so Sunday morning I drove down to the Back Bay at Newport Beach and spent a couple of hours watching the terns and ospreys. As I almost always do, I finished with a visit to Pearson’s Port, conveniently located right next to the kayak landing.

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Quick! Where's the deep fryer!?!? Giant squid 'invade' local waters


Mmmmmm. Calamari.

Click here to read all about the giant squid caught off the coast of Newport Beach. These suckers can weigh up to 60 pounds.

It's being reported that these giant squid "invaded" local waters -- but, um, don't squids live in the water?


Fisherman have been in frenzy ever since.

--Rene Lynch

Photo: The calamari fries served at The Beachcomber Cafe on the Malibu Pier. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Beachcomber taps Michael Jordan, wine guru formerly of Napa Rose, as president

Jordan Michael Jordan, formerly global manager of wine sales and standards at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and general manager of Napa Rose restaurant at Disneyland in Anaheim, has been named president at the Beachcomber, overseeing the Beachcomber Crystal Cove and Malibu Pier.

Jordan, who left Disney in September, has a Master Sommelier diploma with the International Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a certified Wine Educator diploma from the Society of Wine Educators — one of only 15 people in the world to hold both.

Jordan also has started his own winery, Word Vineyards, where he plans to produce a limited amount of artisan wines, a few of which will be available at the Beachcomber. Jordan is expected to expand the wine and beverage program at the Beachcomber restaurants and will offer comprehensive wine study courses for all staff members, including a two-day test administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

At Malibu Pier, 23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, (310) 456-9800; at Crystal Cove, 15 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, (949) 376-6900; www.thebeachcombercafe.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Beachcomber

New in Newport Beach: The Lido Deck. Its specialty? Elk burger.

Lidodeck Imagine yourself with a sun-drenched view of a waterfront marina, ocean waves, multimillion-dollar yachts, where the rich and bikini-clad frolic. The lido deck of the Oasis of the Seas? No, it's the Lido Deck in Newport Beach, the new restaurant located in the former Blanca space.

Chef husband-and-wife team Don Schoenburg and Christi Carter plan to celebrate the restaurant's grand opening Feb. 3. The couple formerly were executive chef and executive pastry chef, respectively, at  Tradition by Pascal in Newport Beach. Schoenburg also was executive chef at Patina Group's Leatherby's Cafe Rouge at the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts.

The couple now have opened their own restaurant at the Newport Beach marina. The house specialty? It's elk burger: ground elk, caramelized onion, remoulade sauce, lamb belly, wild boar bacon, duck egg, tres leche cheese, and grilled romaine. Other dishes include duck confit crepes, braised pork belly, sautéed barramundi, white bean ratatouille and marinated tenderloin of venison.

3420 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 673-9500, www.thelidodeckrestaurant.com

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Lido Deck / Lido Deck

A belly full of booze and braiiiins at the Newport Beach Zombie Pub Crawl

On Saturday afternoon in Newport Beach, if you're so inclined, you'll have the perfect excuse to get dead drunk. Go ahead, stagger from bar to bar, moaning and drooling on yourself. Tear at your clothes and scream "braiiiins" if you feel like it. No one will stop you.

That's because it will be Zombie Pub Crawl day, the one day of the year that you can act like a hopeless drunk without actually being one.

Organized by the website localhipster.com (which devotes itself to the noble pursuit of curating and highlighting happy-hour specials in Orange County), the inaugural Zombie Pub Crawl represents some definite Halloween event-planning synergy. Zombies are very much en vogue this season, and alcohol never goes out of style.

Better yet, though, the parallels between a zombie and a besotted human are uncanny: a lack of motor function; an insatiable appetite; a tendency to groan indecipherably; a sallow, jaundiced appearance; disheveled clothing marked by stains of an unknown provenance; bad breath; and a generally uncouth countenance are just the beginning.

To read the rest of Jessica Gelt's story, click here.

Photo: Headed to the bar. Participants in a Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis. Credit: Amy B. Nelson Mingo.

Small Bites: Royal/T celebrates Sanrio's anniversary with Hello Kitty menu; Osteria Drago to open in Newport Beach

HellokittyHello, Hello Kitty: Royal/T in Culver City will help fete the 35th anniversary of Sanrio Inc. The celebration runs from Oct. 23 to Nov. 15. Along with the "Three Apples" art exhibit, the cafe will offer a Hello Kitty menu: Hello Kitty's "kawaii high tea"; toasted white bread sandwiches such as "say hello chicken and artichoke tramezzini" and "school is fun ham and cheese; and hand-decorated "sweety happy cookies." (All served by Royal/T cafe's maid-outfitted servers.) Sunday, Nov.1, is Hello Kitty's birthday party, featuring an assortment of Hello Kitty pancakes and waffles, a DJ, party games and prizes; birthday cake served 4 to 5 p.m. 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, www.royal-t.org.

A Drago for Orange County: Chef-restaurateur Celestino Drago is expanding the Drago empire, with plans to open another new Italian restaurant -- Osteria Drago. The restaurant will be Drago's first outside of L.A., to be located at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The menu will include Naples-style pizza from a wood-burning oven as well as regional family-style dishes: fresh pasta, polenta, fish and game. The more-than-3,700-square-foot space also will include a wine bar and patio seating. Felderman Keatinge & Associates designed Drago Centro in downtown Los Angeles and will design Osteria Drago. The opening is slated for early next year. 

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Hello Kitty menu/Royal/T

Spiny lobster season starts!

Spiny lobster season in Southern California opened last week, and that means hungry shoppers were lined up at Pearson’s Port this weekend. Located in the harbor at Newport Beach, Pearson’s is a second-generation dream come true for local lovers of seafood. Tommy Pearson is a fisherman who specializes in spot prawns during the summer and spiny lobsters during the winter. He’ll also bring in whatever fish he happens to catch while he’s out on the water tending his traps. His wife, Terese, runs the store, which is really just a shack housing a dozen or so live tanks.

The place can be a little hard to find -- it’s literally in Newport harbor, at the end of a short pier just underneath the Pacific Coast Highway bridge (I rent kayaks right next door). Turn in just before the trailer park and drive down to the water.

Prices this year are the same as last -- $17.99 a pound. And Terese says early fishing has been good, so supplies are plentiful. Spiny lobsters seem to me a bit leaner and more minerally than their Maine cousins (plus they don’t have front claws). My favorite way to fix them is to split them, brush them with herb butter and grill them -- flesh-side down for a couple of minutes, just long enough to firm the meat -- and then turn them over. They’re done when the meat begins to pull away from the shell. Don’t overcook them or they’ll dry out.

If you can’t make it to Newport, you can also find spinys at good local fish markets, including Quality Seafood in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles Fish Co. downtown, Malibu Seafood, Fish King in Glendale and the various Santa Monica Seafood stores. Call first to make sure they’re in stock.

Pearson’s Port, 100 E. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, (949) 675-6771.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo of Terese Pearson by Karen Tapia-Anderson / Los Angeles Times

Small Bites: Chaya Brasserie turns 25; Forty Deuce burlesque at Cafe Was; raclette on Balboa Island


Chaya celebrates: Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills launches a new menu for its 25th anniversary, still focusing on its mix of French and Japanese cuisine (heavy on the French): fruits de mer, rillettes served en cocotte, daily specials such as cote de boeuf and entrees such as boudin blanc. A new bar menu, titled "La Petite Chaya," in honor of the first restaurant that the Tsunoda family opened in California in1982, features small plates, sushi and dessert. Executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe also is offering a $25 prix-fixe dinner special for the month of October served with anniversary-edition wines by the glass from Au Bon Climat Winery. Proceeds from $25 tickets for an Oct. 25 celebration will benefit the Careers through Culinary Arts Program. 8741 Alden Drive, Los Angeles, (310) 859-8833, www.thechaya.com.

Forty Deuce Fridays: Starting this week Ivan Kane brings back his Forty Deuce burlesque show. Kane's Cafe Was will host Forty Deuce Fridays with shows at 10 p.m. and midnight. 1521 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 466-5400, www.cafewas.com.  

Balboa Island raclette: Raclette night returns to Swiss-French restaurant Basilic on Tuesday. For $21.50, all-you-can-eat raclette is served with fingerling potatoes, cornichons and pickled onions; for an additional $7, a selection of Bundnerfleisch (Swiss air-dried beef), prosciutto and saucisson sec. 217 Marine Ave., Balboa Island, (949) 673-0570, www.basilicrestaurant.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Chaya Brasserie.

Small Bites: Fuego opens in Long Beach, Sol Cocina opens in Newport Beach, Debbie Lee at Gyenari, the new lunch menu at Water Grill


"Latin coastal" in Long Beach: Fuego restaurant is now open in the new Hotel Maya in Long Beach, with a menu that's "coastal Latin American." The executive chef is Jesse Perez. The indoor-outdoor dining room overlooks the waterfront of Long Beach, with 360-degree views. On the menu: shrimp ceviche with chile roja; duck al pastor tacos; chile relleño with pork carnitas; Yucatan-style pork “two ways"; and ancho chile grilled rib eye. Tequila tastings are delivered on a vintage dumb waiter to guests seated in the lower bar area (where there are leather and mohair tequila chairs). Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hotel Maya, 700 Queensway Drive, Long Beach, (562) 481-3910, www.fuegolongbeach.com.

"Baja-inspired" in Newport Beach: SOL Cocina restaurant and bar has opened on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Executive chef Deborah Schneider is serving "Baja-inspired" dishes such as sauteed tangerine shrimp, mango-lobster tostadas, and ceviches, as well kurobuta pork carnitas and buttered tequila-steamed clams. The bar stocks more than 50 varieties of tequilas and mezcals. 251 Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, www.solcocina.com.

Debbie does Gyenari: The judges on "The Next Food Network Star" raved about Debbie Lee's cooking. If you want to find out what the fuss was all about, you might want to try Gyenari in Culver City, which bills itself as an "upscale Korean BBQ destination." Lee, a Los Angeles-based restaurant consultant who made it to the final three of the Food Network competition, has revamped Gyenari's menu. Lee calls her style "Seoul to Soul," in homage to her unconventional upbringing: Her parents were Korean immigrants who settled in the South. Lee was raised on collard greens and fried chicken, and wasn't introduced to Korean food until she was well into her teens. Now, she puts a Korean spin on traditional Southern fare. On the menu at Gyenari: a SeoulTown Po' Boy made with sesame shrimp tempura, cilantro slaw and chile tomatoes; a crispy chile-crusted snapper with soy bean succotash and twice-fried pork belly; and pan-seared pork chops with Fuji apple gravy and kimchee smashed potatoes. 9540 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-3131, www.gyenari.com.

New lunch menu at Water Grill: Chef David Lefevre has unveiled a new lunch menu, with salads such as Sea of Cortez white shrimp Caesar salad and sandwiches such as albacore tuna confit and lobster roll. Entrees include Cedar Key clam and sweet corn orechiette with Niman Ranch bacon and sweet basil and Alaskan halibut sauteed and basted with lavender, Meyer lemon and Madagascar vanilla bean oil. The current oyster selection: Malaspina, Fanny Bay, Evening Cove, Kumamoto, Bagaduce and Beausoleil. 544 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 891-0900, www.watergrill.com.

-- Betty Hallock and Rene Lynch

Photo: Gyenari. Credit: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times.


Cupcake Madness with SusieCakes, Yummy, Sweet E's, Whole Foods

SusieCakes celebrates its 3rd birthday with a Golden Ticket giveaway baked into cupcakes To celebrate its 3-year anniversary Saturday, July 18, SusieCakes will hide golden tickets inside 10 of its cupcakes. Prizes include a spot in one of their baking or cake decorating classes, a free 6- or 9-inch cake, five dozen mini-cupcakes and one dozen cupcakes. Winners will also be entered in a grand prize drawing to receive a 9-inch specialty layer cake every month for a year. The ever-expanding bakery will open its newest location, in Manhattan Beach next Saturday, July 25. (SusieCakes: Brentwood, Calabasas, Newport Beach)

Can’t make it to the county fair? Starting in August, Yummy Cupcakes will offer concession stand-themed cupcakes in flavors: buttered popcorn, Goobers, Good N’ Plenty, Hot Tamale, Sour Patch Kids and Raisinettes. (Yummy Cupcakes: Santa Monica, Burbank)

An array of cupcakes at Whole FoodsAre these a new item or something that's long been around? Either way, it's come to our attention that Whole Foods recently started promoting its in-house cupcakes -- decorated like Cookie Monster, piglets, bears and other adorable animals -- quite aggressively. Here's a shot from the Pasadena store.

And if you're too lazy to get out of bed and buy yourself treats, you can now have a passel of mini-cupcakes delivered to you by Sweet E’s mini bake shop, reports Daily Candy. They come in a travel-safe white box and include flavors: Peanut Butter Blizzard, chocolate-iced, cookie dough-stuffed vanilla cake, and S'mores. There's no storefront; order online or by phone (323-422-8885).

--Elina Shatkin

Photos: Top: courtesy of SusieCakes. Bottom: Rob Takata / For The Times.


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.